Nothing Is Anything

This will sound odd coming from a novelist, I know, but one of the easiest mistakes to make is to tell yourself a story about what is happening to you. By which I mean, telling yourself this thing is good or this thing is bad, and then all the reasons for your decision. Nothing is ever just one thing, and you are better off leaving everything that way.

The actual stories we write are different from the stories we tell ourselves. Fictional stories or narrative non-fiction are crafted to follow the narrative arc of a character or characters with the purpose of revealing some emotional truth. At the very least these stories are entertaining, and their best, they teach us something.

Not so with the stories we tell ourselves. If you meet someone for the first time and she gives you an odd look, and you tell this story: “She doesn’t like me,” you have told yourself a lie to simplify an experience. Perhaps she doesn’t like you, or perhaps you remind her of someone she doesn’t like, or perhaps she is insecure, or quirky, or anything.

The stories, whether good or bad, are useless because in truth, everything simply is. Nothing is anything until we call it something, and then everyone will disagree eventually, about everything from birth to death, and so what was the point?  Everything is, and that is all.

So just as some artists resist explaining what their work means, resist deciding what any moment means. Instead, be in that moment as quietly and as free of judgment as possible. Your job was never to know what anything means. Your only job is to decide what to do next. Thankfully, that choice is where all the meaning in your life actually lies.

More Author Articles